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說三道四(have an ax to grind)

華爾街日報報導中共首艘航母試航,讀者投書電子版留言高達500多則,其中有許多視為酸葡萄(sour grapes),有人視為凶兆(the crack of doom),但也有主張放棄台灣,作為賠償中國國債,以為綏靖。
美國是民主國家,言論自由不足為奇,但放棄台灣,以避免和中共衝突的聲浪,這種說法詭異(a different kettle of fish),尤因事涉台灣安全,殊值注意。
俗話說「非我族類,其心必異」(He must be devious since he is not my kin.),美國南方也有類似說法:"You're not from around here, are you?" 指的都是把難以捉摸的變數(you never know what will come over the horizon)當成「虎有傷人心」(always fear the unknown)。因此美國人對中共航母說三道四(have an ax to grind),雖說是人之常情,但我們不能等閒視之。
因為中美兩國齟齬日增,台灣夾在中間左右為難(This is a fine kettle of fish!),孫子說:「辭卑而備者,進也;辭強而進驅者,退也;」許多外交辭令,或者一般民意表達,其實不能光以字面解讀,決策者要佐以事實,才能作為進退的準據。
無論如何,像鴕鳥般地對危機視而不見(burying your head in the sand),或者像麋鹿被疾駛而來的車燈迷惑(to freeze like a deer in headlights)而身置險境,均非智者所為。
這也是決策者面對排山倒海而來的雜音,所應有之修為。
例:"Many WSJ readers don't think it's such a great idea for Chinese to have an airplane carrier - and that's seemingly just sour grapes because the US owes China 1.4 trillion dollars."
「許多華爾街日報讀者對於中國擁有航母不以為然,在美國積欠中國1.4兆債務之際,這種說法顯得有點酸葡萄。」
"For them, China's flexing her naval muscle is akin to the crack of doom."
「中國擴展海權,對他們而言,就是一種凶兆。」
"America used to be the only superpower and China is taking over. But giving up Taiwan is a completely different kettle of fish."「美國獨一的霸權地位固然受到中國挑戰,但放棄台灣卻又是兩碼子事。」
“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. We never know what will come over the horizon.”
「兩強相爭,必然傷及無辜,誰也不能擔保局勢不會有變化。」
"People will always fear the unknown because of possible harm."
「對於不可知的未來,人總因為可能受到傷害而心感畏懼。」
"Many Americans have an ax to grind about the fact that Chinese is trying to become a naval power."
「中國試圖成為海上強權,許多美國人對此不以為然。」
"That's a fine kettle of fish - we don't let American beef in while we have to acquire those needed new jets."
「事情顯得棘手:我們不讓美國牛肉進口,同時又想購買美國戰機。」
"We should not bury our head in the sand and try to ignore the problem."
「問題來臨,不能一味逃避。」
"In moments of tensions, our worst default reaction will be to freeze like a deer in headlights and prevent any changes at all costs."
「事態緊急之際,尤其不能呆若木雞,不知應變。」
作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

騙得死死 (hook, line, and sinker)

上市公司經營團隊利多不斷,身為投資者,你要不要相信?流氓國家聲稱沒有核生化武器,身為強國談判者,你該不該相信?我們都知道決策需要情報,但關係重大的情報,其真偽難以證實,心理上我們會「寧可信其有」,還會火速採取行動,因為我們以為危機就在眼前(because it's there)。
某大廠總經理去職之後,新經營團隊內部稽核,發現某區庫存及應收帳款異常,公司斷然處置(go cold turkey),決定提供該地區通路銷貨折讓,認列損失新台幣數十億元。經查出錯的地區,竟然是前總經理戰功最輝煌,藉以發跡的地區。公司這才知道,當時前任老總的傑出表現竟然是雙面刃(two-edged sword),而其高深莫測(grinning like a Cheshire cat)的銷售表現,只是遮人耳目的花招。
美軍入侵伊拉克,當時言之鑿鑿的理由,是伊拉克擁有大規模殺傷武器,事後證明子虛烏有,有人說海珊沒有那麼壞(black as one is painted),一般法治國家對被告在證明有罪之前都是清白的(Innocent until proven guilty),但他的下場是未經審判已經定罪,難怪有人說這一切都是戰爭販子(war mongering)挑起的,但當時所有證據都指向對海珊不利的一面。
瑞典前外長布利斯擔任聯合國伊拉克調查團團長,說當時只有法國總統席哈克一個人獨持異議,因為席哈克認為各國情報人員向來只會人云亦云,不敢假定自己判斷有誤(rational ignorance)。孫子說:「死間者,為誑事於外,令吾聞知之而傳於敵間也;」即冒著生命危險向敵方提供假情報的我方特工,有死間從中攪局,稍一不查,敵人就會被他騙得死死(hook, line, and sinker.),可見懷疑自己的判斷可能出錯這件事有多麼困難,又何其重要。
例:"Just because it's there, does it mean it is true?"
「東西擺在眼前,我還是不敢確定真假。」
"Finally the company went cold turkey on the sales performance of that area and tried its best to stop the bleeding."
「公司對於該地區之銷售狀況失去信心,採取斷然處置作為以便止血。」
"His great performance was a real double-edged sword because he never felt he could communicate with other people."
「他表現傑出,卻因此和別人格格不入,可謂利弊互見。」
"Before the scandal, the former boss has been grinning like a Cheshire cat,and the rest of his colleagues were looking pretty chuffed."「案發前,原來的老闆總是笑口常開,一派高深莫測,把同仁蒙在鼓裡。」
"Shylock is not as black as he is painted. He seems quite generous to the orphans."
「夏洛克非常善待那些孤兒們,人們對他似乎誤會很大。」
"Everyone is entitled to wish the court to consider him innocent until he is proven to be guilty."
「未經審判定讞,人人都應該被無罪看待,這是每個人的權利。」
"People said the whole warfare was caused by the war mongers who make a living off the invasion."
「有人說:這根本是戰爭販子掀起藉以發財的侵略。」
"Because information is costly to gather and process, decision makers often practice rational ignorance: they decide with incomplete information."
「情報得來不易,在情報不足時,決策者就必須在自知有可能出錯的狀態下做出決定。」
"The spy made up such a good story that we fell for it hook, line, and sinker."
「這個間諜說詞言之鑿鑿,我們全部上了大當。」
作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/
--------------------------------------------------------------------
對號入座if the shoe fits, wear it
利底亞與波斯不和,國王克里索斯向阿波羅神廟請示「若我進攻,後果如何?」神諭:「將有帝國覆亡。」克里索斯下令進攻,結果全軍潰滅,帝國果真覆亡,只不過這個帝國是他自己的國家。
神諭晦澀難解嗎?耶魯大學教授卡根認為不然:前來神廟請教迷津者眾,三教九流(the grass roots)都有,等待時間漫長,廟方耳目密布,故能探知來意,祭師消息靈通,不必偏袒一方(black and white),研判可以從容(wait and see when the dust settles),故能對症下藥。克里索斯敗亡,問題不在神諭,而在對號入座(if the shoe fits, wear it)太早,沒有針對疑點繼續求證。
祭師消息靈通,但絕非不知人間疾苦(gazing down from on high),神廟也非高高在上的象牙塔(an ivory tower),它其實就是情報中心,這也是大家前來問卜(其實是套取情報)主因,只不過廟門大開廣迎四方來客,不便把話講死(in black and white),以免自打嘴巴(past comes back to haunt us),這是待客之道,也讓神諭多半靈驗,這正是神廟香火鼎盛的原因。
台灣俗語:「站高山看馬相踢」(直譯:Stand by and watch the two horses kick each other.),所仗恃者,是情報靈通。神廟屹立多年,情報向來正確,但前來問津,仍須萬分謹慎,以免有遺珠之憾(walking past $100 bills on the sidewalk)。孫子說:「故三軍之事,莫親於間,賞莫厚於間,事莫密於間」,也強調「廟算」(舉兵前比較雙方實力),就要透過間諜反覆查明情報真實性,以免利底亞覆轍。
例:"The temple shares the grass roots truth for it has been gathering information all along."「神廟平日周諮博採,所見當然入木三分。」
"The priests wait until the dust settles before people mention anything else."「不管一方說詞如何,祭師總是在水落石出後行動。」
"The issue of the conflict isn't as black and white from the lens of the priest in the temple."「廟方祭師認為,衝突不能用非黑即白兩分法論斷。」
"The priest just puts the shoe out there, the king is the one that puts it on and announced to everyone that it fits him."「祭師才拋出觀點,國王就對號入座。」
"The sober priest, gazing down from on high, renders direction critical to his state's future."「祭師道貌岸然,冷靜地指出他的國家重要的未來方向。」
"They manage to live in the real world rather than an ivory tower."「他們想方設法,努力不與群眾脫節。」
"The priests tend not to establish the oracles in black and white, avoiding past comes back to haunt them."「祭師儘量不把神諭說死,以免自打嘴巴。」
"Failure to verify your information is like walking past $100 bills lying on the sidewalk."「要查明你的情報真實性,以免產生遺珠之憾。」
作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

漁翁得利 (third man in takes the prize)

米奇‧麥迪法學院畢業,受聘律師事務所,薪水高福利好,工作伊始頗受重用,旋即被FBI盯上,獲告律師樓其實是毒梟洗錢中心,要他擔任內線舉發黑幕。米奇進退兩難(between the devil and the deep blue sea),因為擔任內應,違背律師保密信條,會喪失律師資格;不答應合作,遲早東窗事發,一樣脫身不得,兩者均非上策(Hobson's choice),難怪米奇夫婦驚惶失措(eyes as wide as owls),不知如何是好。
黑白兩道夾殺 進退兩難
以上情節是暢銷書《The Firm》情節,黑白兩道都要米奇配合,開始百般示好,隨即露出猙獰面目:「順我者生,逆我者死」(If you are not for us, then you are against us.),證明先前說法都是虛偽口惠(Judas's kiss),無論米奇和哪方合作,或與哪方翻臉,都是死路一條(meet one's Waterloo),難怪書中米奇小倆口決定逃亡天涯,一輩子被黑白兩道追殺。
本書1993年翻拍電影,情節卻有重大修正:米奇不願十年寒窗付諸流水,決定擇善固執(Hercules' choice),於是影印非法資料,藏在船上,告知黑幫他無意揭發,但必須保留資料,以便以律師身分持續提供諮詢(因而保有律師資格),並揭發律師樓超收費用,以為脫身之計(他藉機脫離律師樓,同時擺脫黑道糾葛);然後通知FBI律師樓超時收費,而非洗錢,這樣FBI同樣可以掃蕩律師樓,但米奇卻可置身事外,公司垮台後仍可繼續保有律師身分!
電影中米奇深入黑白兩道糾結(there are two sides of every story),協助FBI成功取締律師樓,並將洗錢資料運送船上,作為保命符防止被黑道暗算,同時又允應黑手黨永不舉發作為交換條件,三管齊下,在FBI和黑手黨鷸蚌相爭中取得利益(third man in takes the prize),這與孫子「兵形象水,水之行避高而趨下,兵之形避實而擊虛;水因地而制流,兵因敵而制勝」的兵法精髓不謀而合,殊值效法。
謀得保命符 隔山觀虎鬥
例:" For Mitch being a mole is the result of a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea - if he is he suffers, and if he isn't he suffers."
「要不要擔任內奸,對米奇都是兩難:他真是裏外不是人。」
"Mitch thinks this is a Hobson's choice: both unfavorable and fatal options."
「兩個選項都很爛,米奇根本沒有選擇餘地。」
"Abby's eyes were as wide as owls and began to panic when she knew her telephone was bugged."
「得知家裡電話被竊聽,艾比驚慌失措,久久不能自已。」
"The secret agent told Mitch that 'if he is not for us then he is against us',and he will take Mitch down!"
「特工要米奇好生配合,不然就要整他冤枉!」
"'Take care of your family.' Both the FBI and the Firm lie. The words are staining Mitch's cheek like Judas's kiss."
「聯邦調查局和律師樓都要米奇『好好照顧家庭』。但此話聽在米奇耳中,簡直是死神之吻。」
"He meets his Waterloo if he agrees to become a FBI tool with a sudden death the penalty for detection."
「看來答應擔任FBI的內應不是良策,因為萬一被揭穿,肯定死路一條。」
"He believes there are two sides of every question and he determines to find a way out from this quagmire."
「他深入兩方意見,不偏不倚,決心找出生路脫離苦海。」
"We think Mitch has been wise in his Hercules choice."
「米奇擇善固執,咸認他的抉擇是正確的。」
"Mitch was the third man in between the war of the FBI and the Mafia, and took the prize by using that rivalry to spur a fight between them."
「小心周旋在聯邦調查局和黑手黨的鬥爭當中,米奇挑撥雙方,從中獲利。」
作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

精打細算(Discretion is the better part of valor)

鄭成功趕走荷蘭人,經營台灣的同時(1662),英國海盜亨利摩根也正與西班牙海軍交戰,並在加勒比海建立橋頭堡,英國政府進而任命摩根出任總督。西班牙只知洗劫黃金,不知經營;英國收購摩根生產的蔗糖,雙方互利,規模愈來愈大,逐漸取代西班牙勢力,史家稱:英國200年海上霸權奠基於此。
亨利摩根就是好萊塢電影「加勒比海海盜王」的本尊,俗話說「江山易改,本性難移」(a leopard doesn't change its spots),他根本是個唯利是圖的海盜。英國政府基於利之所在,大膽重用為馬前卒;而摩根抓住機會戮力經營,打開局面,用成績證明自己的長才(the salt of the earth)。
堂堂政府和海盜勾結,一起開發海外殖民地,這是個雙面刃(a sword with two edges)的政策。
不過,基於三個理由證明這個決策的正確性(verdict of Solomon):首先,人性好逸惡勞(Only fools and horses work.),找亡命之徒替自己打天下,何樂不為;其次,抓住海盜發財心切,贏得他們效忠的赤忱(know which side one's bread is buttered on);最後,源源不斷的海外資源進帳(their bread and butter),讓雙方獲利,合作模式得以長期經營下去。
孫子說:「凡用兵之法,將受命於君,合軍聚眾,交和而舍,莫難於軍爭。」國人的理解是:老闆只有一個,用「自己人」才能打勝仗,所以清廷要消滅鄭成功而後快;英國人精打細算(Discretion is the better part of valor)之後,能賺錢的勾當都願意做。
哈佛大學教授佛格森新書《文明:東方與西方》指出:東方文化定於一尊,所以保守;西方民主分權,所以進取,兩相比較,決定了500年來西方文明的優勢,這是重視績效,會吸納人才的結果。
例:"The British government knows who Henry Morgan is but still assigns him head of the colony. It doesn't worry that a leopard doesn't change its spots."
「英國政府深知亨利摩根底細,但並不在乎能否悔改,仍舊委託他出任殖民總督。」
"The British government believes even though the barrel is rotten, there will be a few good apples left among the rotten ones."
「英國政府認為:再差勁的團體中,還是可以找到幾個可以重用的人。」
"These buccaneers were described as the best, the salt of the earth,particularly when their products were needed to feed the country."
「這些海盜種植出來的作物廣受歡迎,搖身一變為優秀人才。」
"The British government's decision on Morgan's assignment is a sword with two edges."
「英國政府關於摩根的任命,是風險十足的人事案。」
"The British government rendered a verdict of Solomon by appointing Henry Morgan the governor of the colony."
「英國政府任命摩根為殖民地總督,此舉不失為良策。」
"These buccaneers won't refuse to follow the orders. They know which side their bread are buttered."
「海盜們知道好歹,誠心歸順,十分聽從指揮。」
"Their business model of running the colonies is the bread and butter for both sides."
「經營殖民地的商業模式,是雙方利潤的主要來源。」
"Since discretion is the better part of valor, they carefully study the opportunity and threat of using these buccaneers to conquer the Spanish citadels in Jamaica."
「他們萬般慎重,小心查明運用海盜攻打西班牙在牙買加城堡的利弊得失。」
作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

去異求同 (meet in the middle)

達賴訪台後,高雄愛河終於看到許久未見的陸客,這是中共高官帶來的伴手禮。連同採購團、二軌學術會議,台海看似「潮平兩岸闊,風正一帆懸」,實處於「摸著石頭過河」(touch and go)高度風險。

前程是康莊大道,還是坎坷末路?在走上不歸路(point of no return)之前,國人都應多加留意,適切關心。

例:"Both sides had a tough time when they started the negotiation. In fact, it was touch and go for years -- several times they were ready to break. But now they're making progress."「談判開始,進行並不順利;幾年來屢屢陷入僵局,不過總算有了進展。」

"The entire project is past the point of no return; we will have to continue with it."「頭已經洗了一半,整個案子一定要完成。」

"Terry's offer to purchase Jimmy's business has been accepted. They've reached the point of no return."「奇美接受出價,接受合併,整個案子終於底定了。」

從兵戎相見,到坐下來談,花了雙方一甲子歲月。談判是妥協的藝術,不能一方說了算(It takes two to tango.),否則即使對方勉強接受,最後也會毀約。

避免強暴欺凌弱小,就不能恣意妄為(dance to his own tune);總之,去異求同(meet in the middle),才能達成雙贏。

例:"The reason we reached an agreement is because we worked together. After all, it takes two to tango."「雙方捐棄成見,攜手合作,協議終於達成。」

"In our team, there is no such thing as one man dances to his own tune."「我要求團隊精神,不容許個人主義。」

"Married couples often need to meet in the middle to resolve problems. It is a team effort and neither can always enforce on the other."「各退一步,多替對方著想,實乃婚姻美滿之道。」

孫子說:「以利動之,以卒待之。」亦即會打仗的人擅於製造勝利的形勢,來操弄對方。不過孫子更強調,「伐交」總好過「伐兵」;而談判就像併購,總以雙贏為目的。成功與否的標準,則在於併購後,留不留得住人才。

所以,強勢的一方要拿出誠意,贏得人心(win the hearts and minds of the people),才能達成目標留人;弱勢的一方也不能把別人的好意,全部當成驢肝肺,一概不領情(heart isn't in it)。須知:不知以小事大,只會裡外皆失。

例:"It required a carefully crafted strategy and presentation skill to win the heart and mind of the buyers. We managed to pull them back successfully without a hitch."「策略明確,表達得體,終於贏得客戶青睞。」

"Even if he hadn't stopped for the comments, his performance makes it plain that his heart isn't in it."「雖然他不在乎別人的批評,但明顯看出他已經無心戀棧。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

如虎添翼 (to have a third hand)

阿拉伯領袖費瑟拜訪歐洲,出席國宴,沒有準備致辭,見在座無人懂阿拉伯文,想背誦一段可蘭經湊數,要好友勞倫斯「高興對他們說什麼,就說什麼」。只見費瑟優雅地講,勞倫斯賣力地翻,內容和經文完全無關,聞者卻無不動容,因為「譯詞」呼籲阿拉伯人團結,是勞倫斯畢生職志,說來當然扣人心弦。

電影「阿拉伯的勞倫斯」中,費瑟、勞倫斯並肩對抗土耳其,作戰出生入死,產生「一加一大於二」(to have a third hand)默契,在戰場左支右絀時(to have a third leg )能相互支援,當然也可以在饗宴詞窮,看似尷尬的處境,巧妙出擊(to cut the Gordian knot),一舉解圍。

所謂「聽其言、觀其行而知其人」(the tree is known by its fruit),是聽者認為對方言行一致;但涉及傳譯時,說一不二(Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No')狀況就難掌握。優秀的譯者能把握重點,避免籠統混為一談(compare apples and oranges),還能不糟蹋場合(cast one's pearls before swine)隨機應變,同時幫助聽者(及講者)獲益。他們居中接收、消化、傳遞、解釋訊息,難怪孫子會說:「故用間有五:有因間,有內間,有反間,有死間,有生間。五間俱起,莫知其道,是謂神紀」,他們是「人君之寶」,全在於是資訊的把關者。

例:"Prince Faisal is going to have a third hand, named T.E. Lawrence."「費瑟王子與羅倫斯搭配之後,感覺如虎添翼。」

"He had a third leg, and it got in the way when he had to prepare a formal speech at a banquet."「在饗宴中致詞這件事讓他倍覺壓力,左支右絀。」

"To be precise, he cut the Gordian's knot to give the audiences the future of the Arabian world."「他直截了當,將阿拉伯世界的未來清晰地告訴聽眾。」

"By having a place for everything and everything in its place, abnormality becomes easy to see."「事物若能各就其定位,異常狀況就無所遁形。」

"The Chinese may say they believe in peace, but the tree is known by its fruit; they haven't removed the missiles they have aimed at Taiwan."「對岸中國人說他們追求和平,但事實俱在:他們的飛彈還是對著台灣瞄準。」

"Let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you say yes to everyone, one day will come when you have to say no to everyone."「該怎麼辦就怎麼辦,大聲說出來,現在怕得罪人,不敢堅持;總有一天因有必要堅持,而得罪所有人。」

"You can't compare apples and oranges. You can only compare apples and apples." 「此事不容混為一談,大家要就事論事。」

"Giving the audience a shortened translation had nothing to do with the concept of 'casting pearls before swine'. The translator simply did his job with some liberty to help them avoid a long, boring speech."「縮短翻譯內容不代表看不起聽眾,主要是譯者體恤,不讓他們受罪。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

有利必有弊 (there’s no rose without a thorn)

錯誤怎麼產生的?且聽旅日棋士王銘琬的評論:「下哪一著棋才正確?大部分職業棋士也不知道。壓力、成見或臨場疏忽,讓應該的錯、不應該的錯隨時出現。人會犯錯,甚至明知錯誤,有時無可避免還是照犯。」他認為,決策時「我完全不會出錯」的假定,就像下棋前聲稱:「這盤棋我一定會下贏」一樣,都是空話。

的確,許多決策或運作,好比滅頂於金融風暴的雷曼兄弟、毀於地震海嘯的福島核電廠,出事前都被形容為「安坐蓮花台」(sure as God made little green apples)一般穩固,功效更是無以倫比(great thing since indoor plumbing),他人稍有質疑,主事者便譏以「沒有膽識」(Oh, ye of little faith.)堵人口實。

禍生肘腋…天有不測風雲

榮景可期,運作順暢時,大家都有「欲與天公試比高」(Give me somewhere to stand, and I will move the earth.)的豪氣;但老手知道,勝負關鍵在於不能只想好處而忽略缺點(there’s no rose without a thorn),因此要預做準備。這不是單單只為壯膽(whistling in the dark),而是積極作為,目的是排除意外,好降低措手不及,禍生肘腋(And thou, my child?)事件的發生機率。

孫子第四章說:「勝可知,而不可為。不可勝者,守也;可勝者,攻也。」第六章又說:「勝可為也。」這前後有無矛盾?我們幫他解釋:以賭博為例,賭博包贏,非常不易,因為有風險存在。但讓別人不能贏你,卻一點不難——你不賭,就不會輸;不輸,不也等於贏了?別人求贏心切,搞到意外連連,槁木死灰(to have cold feet)之際,你手氣好到不行(on a roll),想不贏都難。

例:"It will not happen overnight but as sure as God made little green apples it will."「本案十分穩妥,雖然沒有速效,但絕無變卦之虞。」

"The wealth management specialist is marketing her financial planning as the greatest thing since indoor plumbing and hope I will buy her story."「理財專員鼓其如簧之舌,把產品說得神氣活現,希望我會同意成交。」

"You thought I wouldn’t finish the chore on time? Oh, ye of little faith."「你以為我無法如期結案嗎?你對我太沒信心了!」

"Some believe good connection will give you that firm place to stand in order to move the earth."「有些人認為,憑藉好關係,可以改變全世界。」

風險管理…才是勝負關鍵

"No rose without a thorn but many a thorn without a rose."「有些時候,身處順境,難免有些逆境;但更多的時候是:身處逆境中完全看不到順境。」

"She seems pretty sure she’ll win the title, but she may just be whistling in the dark."「她勢在必得,或許這只是她虛張聲勢的花招。」

"When the manager tells the president that he will also resign, the president cried, ‘Even you, my child?’"「經理告訴執行長他也會遞辭呈,執行長驚呼:怎麼,連你也背叛我了!」

"I got cold feet when I learned the project seemed like a money pit."「這個案子看似無底錢坑,當下讓我心裡涼了半截。」

"Things are going great for Larry. He’s on a roll now."「案子進展順暢無比,老賴手氣好到不行。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

言過其實 (devil is not so black as he is painted)

孫子說:「屈諸侯者以害,役諸侯者以業,趨諸侯者以利。」意指能精準理解他人的內心世界,就有適切手段操控他們。職業撲克牌大賽也有類似的猜心遊戲(Lodden Thinks):先設定問題(例:永康街哪家餐廳最棒?),並以此詢問韓良露這種美食大師,再請兩參賽者猜韓的答案,答案愈接近韓,誰就是勝利者。

用心 才能出眾

哪家餐廳最棒,現實世界中《米其林指南》有標準答案。它是全球老饕的美食聖經,舉凡菜色、服務、裝潢、餐桌擺設、食具好壞、上菜順序、酒窖品質、人員訓練,評選重點多達500項。它是廚師奮鬥的終極目標,名廚Alain Zick因從三星降為二星而自殺。該書宗旨是讓人按圖索驥(Ariadne's thread),省掉嘗試錯誤(trial and error)的麻煩。它中立可靠,不接受廣告,評鑒員試吃採匿名拜訪,一人肯定,還要另派人員多方查證,全職評鑒員每年輪調區域,以避免不法勾結,所以法國餐廳待客都不敢怠慢(If you can't be good, be careful.)。

事業要想出眾,先要用心投入;別人不用心,用心的人愈容易出頭(In the world of the blind, the one-eyed man gets the credit.)。《米其林指南》就是設定高標準(according to Hoyle),讓腳踏實地(the salt of the earth)出頭,不同凡響者成名,浪得虛名者退位。饕客認同它,因為知道它也用高標準自我要求。

台灣許多小吃攤,常把媒體的置入性報導,複製當成廣告,掛在店前招徠客人。這些報導多半只求熱鬧,沒有《米其林指南》嚴謹,無法產生讓人非他莫屬的口碑(make oneself indispensable);即使慕名而來,有時也感受不到報導的真實性(devil is not so black as he is painted),其理即在:沒有人監督評鑑者的評鑑水平。

例:"At dinner, we played 'What Lodden Thinks' with the question, 'What is the best restaurant in Taipei?' "「晚餐中我們玩起猜心遊戲,問題是:台北最棒的餐廳是哪一家?」

成功 靠真本事

"The Michelin Guide, like Ariadne's thread, enables tourists to locate the best restaurants easily."「米其林指南讓遊客按圖索驥,輕鬆找到最好餐廳進餐。」

"We may need to do a trial and error approach for good restaurants when touring in a foreign country."「在異國觀光,問路無門,有時必須嘗試許多錯誤,才能找到好餐廳享用。」

"If you can't be good, be careful. If you can't be careful, be lucky. And if you're not lucky, you'd better be good!"「成功之道在於:沒本領要用心;不用心靠運氣;沒運氣就要有真本領。」

"In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is still king, even if the blind don't know it."「看到別人看不到的細節,這種人一定出頭,即使別人看不出他有這種能力亦然。」

"According to Hoyle, when it comes to modern cooking techniques, less is more."「簡單就是美:談到現代烹調藝術,大師都這麼認為。」

"The cook does a lot of good jobs and is considered to be the salt of the world."「這位廚師做菜色香味俱全,被認為做到了腳踏實地的本分。」

"Anyone can be replaced, but how do you make yourself less so?"「人人都可以被取代,重點是你如何做到減少被取代的機率。」

"The devil is not so black as he is painted, but I believe that someone is as careless as the Red Guide said he is."「別人說話也許會言過其實,但《米其林指南》說某人不用心經營,我就相信他確實如此。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

奇貨可居 (to back the dark horse)

中國崛起,美國歐巴馬總統2009年訪問中國時,力推「十萬人留學中國」計畫,讓年輕學子日後變身遞出橄欖枝(to hold out the olive branch)的和平親善大使,經營(finger in the pie)中國開放的廣大市場。

印度和中國同時崛起,印度也有中國熱。印度現有500名學生在台灣深造,報載聯合國前印度籍副秘書長沙魯認為,台灣是學習中文的全球首選,我國駐印度代表翁文祺日前接受印度時報採訪,也呼籲政府施展大手筆(not Mickey Mouse),五年內從印度招來1萬名學生來台學習中文,以便在適者生存(survival of the fittest)的競爭中殺出重圍,趁勢打開台灣的外交局面,更上層樓(to go from strength to strength)。

印度電影《貧民百萬富翁》、《我的名字叫可汗》和《三個傻瓜》在台廣受好評,我們知道印度年輕人非常優秀,但競爭壓力相較於台灣有過之而無不及。孫子說:「地形有通者、我可以往,彼可以來,曰通。通形者,先居高陽,利糧道,以戰則利。」人才就像「通地」,大家爭著要,但只有呂不韋這種大政治家,才知道奇貨可居(to back the dark horse)。

他對待落魄的秦國貴族異人,絕對不小鼻子小眼睛(narrow-focus, narrow-gauge),因為他認定異人是政壇黑馬(a dark horse),無論如何都要全力爭取(at all costs)。馬英九總統不也說,哪天中國總理曾經留學過台灣,兩岸還會打仗嗎?

例:"The American President is willing to hold out the olive branch to China with whom he finds common interests to share with each other."「美國總統對中國伸出橄欖枝,以便提升兩國共同利益。」"The Americans want to have their fingers in the pie in all aspects of the Chinese market."「美國人插手中國廣大市場,想大撈一筆。」

"In order to attract, engage, and retain talents from abroad, we need real inviting projects - not Mickey Mouse ones."「要招募優秀的外國人才,我們的作法總不能小裡小氣。」

"In the brutal nature of survival of the fittest, we have to make it for the devil take the hindmost."「 弱肉強食,適者生存,我們要努力突破。」

"The mutual relations between Taiwan and India will continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come."「往前看,台灣和印度雙邊關係愈來愈好。」

"Lu Bu-wei decided to back the dark horse and took the risky step of creating a scheme for Yin Yi-ren to throne in the kingdom of Qin."「呂不韋認為贏異人奇貨可居,設法讓他回秦國接班。」

"After ending his hostage years in Chao, Yi-ren returned to his mother country as a dark horse and won the kingship with the help from Lu."「有了呂不韋幫助,異人結束在趙國的人質生涯,回到母國成為政壇黑馬。」

"First of all, we need to abandon the narrow-focus, narrow-gauge insular mentality in our higher education policy."「我們務必揚棄島國心態的教育政策。」

"We need to attract talents from abroad at all cost in order to boost our competitive advantage."「我們要全力吸引人才回國,來提振我們的競爭力。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


英文歌

面面俱到 (cover all the bases)

金融海嘯重創英國,事後女王問道:此等重大危機,何以沒有一個經濟學家預見?女王的質疑震動學界,大英學院慎重回應:金融界風險管理者總想以小搏大(the widow's cruse),但忽略了市場風險,集體想像矇蔽下,管理機制終至失靈(drop dead)。

華爾街金童勇於提出看似合法卻極端不合理的條件(pound of flesh),自以為面面俱到(cover all the bases)。但終日打雁,終被雁啄(Live by the sword,die by the sword.)。學界認為玩火自焚,不考慮「意外」,正是罪魁禍首。反對者認為此說了無新意(all show and no go),也聯名上書女王,指出經濟學研究與現實脫節,才是主因。

為何我們找不到遺失物品?因為我們老是在它不在的地方找,而不在它的所在位置去找。這個笑話讓我們知道,事前無法預知,事後眾說紛紜,是生活常態。

哈佛教授巴涅特剛出道時,接到研究案,獲邀預判「千年蟲」(Y2K)可能的危機,當時他天馬行空地想像:華爾街關閉一星期、美國空運停止運作十天、即時供應鏈毀損等等,此般諸多推演,在911恐怖攻擊後被,統統派上用場,顯示他筆端千鈞力,刀槍也難敵(the pen is mightier than the sword)的功力。

巴涅特思考時,能和華爾街金童一樣勇於擺脫陳窠老套(to think inside the box),但不同處則在於處處設訂風險控管及因應措施,有如孫子強調的安國全軍之道。

孫子強調廟算,要我們嚴肅考慮五大因素:「一曰道,二曰天,三曰地,四曰將,五曰法」,但搞懂這五個項目,勝負就可以立判了嗎?非也,因為廟算追求勝率,也在風險控管,五項因素只是大項,而非全部,決策者要跳出窠臼(think outside the box),不能畫地自限,只考慮這五項,否則盲點叢生,結局就會崩盤。

例:"He called the scheme the widow's cruse, hoping the return to go a long way and to be inexhaustible."「他把方案形容成聚寶盆,利潤將會滾滾而來。」

"Those smart people did not take the needed balanced decisions and the whole market simply drop dead."「這些人聰明絕頂卻漫不經心,把整個市場玩到失靈。」

"To some, their explanation is all show and no go."「他們解釋地頭頭是道,但還是有人不以為然。」

"They have gotten their pound of flesh but still demand more, without knowing any resulting crisis is laid clearly at their feet."「他們貪得無厭,對自己造下的惡業毫無所悉。」

"They thought the schemes they worked out could have covered all the bases."「他們以為炮製的方案已經面面俱到,無懈可擊。」

"The financial consultant who organized so many schemes lost eventually all he had in the crisis. Live by the sword, die by the sword."「理財專員設局坑人,自己也不得善終,真可謂終日打雁,終被雁啄。」

"Hence the saying, the pen is mightier than the sword. On the other hand, Tom Barnett's predictions depict that lack of knowledge means powerlessness."「知識就是力量,巴涅特的預測告訴我們:筆端千鈞力,刀槍也難敵。」

"Don't think inside the box, for that's where solid snake is hiding; to solve the problem, we need to think outside the box."「因循苟且不能進步,跳脫窠臼才能成事。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


喜怒不形於色 (wear a poker face)

孫子說:「佯北勿從,餌兵勿食」,要人不被小勝沖昏頭,而為敵人拖刀計(Parthian shot)所乘。老兵久經沙場,見多識廣,要他因為小利上當,並不容易。但對一般人,要他在旗開得勝之際,卻不乘勝追擊,這倒很難。

進退如何拿捏?五代十國的馮道「累朝不離將相、三公、三師之位」,為官40多年,靠得就是從蛛絲馬跡判定大局走勢,有「讀心」功夫加持,隨時預備(in the works),能見風轉舵,難怪可以當政壇不倒翁(Vicar of Bray)。

政壇之路既長且辛,天真爛漫,胸無城府者(be footloose and fancy-free),稍加撩撥,就容易強出頭而發難(casting the first stone),到處結怨而不自知,多半因此快速隕落。此乃因為他們目無餘子,忘了自己也有同樣的缺點(a beam in one’s eye),黔驢之技被人看穿,就會被當成箭靶遭致攻擊。

讀心術對賭徒尤其重要,因為稍露出些微不尋常,就會被人抓到小辮子迎面痛擊(run square into it),破壞原有布局,甚至賠上最後老本(bottom dollar)。

2010年歐洲撲克巡迴賽義大利站賽冠軍得主奧莉維亞‧柏瑞,一路過關斬將,抱回獎金(cash in her chips)新台幣5,200萬元。柏瑞在牌桌上只有撲克臉孔(poker face),讓人完全猜不透她的牌路,年僅25歲的美麗佳人,竟然有個綽號叫「鐵娘子」,這是因為任誰也猜不透她芳心的緣故。

例:"Former CEO complained in his Parthian shot that the board paid far more attention to politics than policy."「前執行長臨走前使出回馬槍,說董事會只會耍政治手腕,不在乎政策內容。」

"Minister Feng always has a new plan in the works during every regime change."「馮道總能事先規劃,安渡每回政權轉移。」

"Feng really was behaving like the Vicar of Bray, for he changed his affiliations with each change of government."「馮道最擅長見風轉舵,每當改朝換代,他也馬上換個腦袋,繼續擔任高官。」

"Jane believes her hand is good now that she is footloose and fancy-free."「阿珍一手好牌,頓時喜形於色。」"She’s always criticizing her colleagues, casting the first stone no matter what the circumstances."「她喜歡挑剔,不管場合,動輒搶先斥責同僚。」

"Nobody with a beam in his eye can see things clearly. He is dangerously low on discernment."「看不見自己缺點的人,眼力最差。」

"Olivia decided to run square into it after she scrutinized the way her competitor tipped his hand."「奧莉薇雅從對手小動作研判對策,決定攤牌。」

"He spent his bottom dollar on some new clothes to wear for his job interview."「他把剩餘的錢添購新裝,準備好好面試。」"I decided to cash in my chips to get some money to go back to school."「我決定獲利了結,回學校唸書。」

"All presidents keep secrets, but over a 72-hour span leading to Bin Laden’s death, Obama’s capacity to keep a poker face was tested as never before."「總統都懂得動心忍性,但狙殺賓拉登前72小時,歐巴馬總統臉上完全看不出跡象,真是工夫到家了。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


鴻門宴 (a come to Jesus meeting)

企管大師應邀知名公司演講,發現幹部答問都不得要領,而老闆對演講精髓和幹部提問的剖析回應,則無不精準。名師認為:該公司前途堪憂,因為老闆太強。

我向某企管顧問請教這個現象,獲告:許多老闆寧信顧問,也不信自家人意見。理由:這些人聽命於我,不正好說明其能力差?但這個答案,也產生另一個問題:什麼樣的老闆,讓員工肯說真話?

孫子「因形而措勝於眾,眾不能知」,屬垂直式的指揮鏈(vertical chain of command ),即運用之妙、存於指揮官一心,部下只要聽命辦事即可。

例:"Too many tasks at the company have a vertical chain of command. There is no broad teamwork effort going on and so everything takes longer and is unorganized."「公司大小事,上面說了算;沒有協調,當然沒有效率。」

"The poor sales performance forced new CEO to clean house and we are moving from a vertical chain of command to a more horizontal chain of collaboration."「業績壞到不行,新老闆大力整頓。橫向聯繫已改善,上頭也逐漸減少干預。」

有天縱英明的老闆,就會有應聲蟲(yes man)、馬屁精(brown noser)屬下。早年台灣尾牙宴,雞頭對準誰,那人工作就不保;這種鴻門宴,和英文 "a come to Jesus meeting" 同,都是強勢叫別人聽命、配合的作法。

例:"After four failures in a row, King does not want to hear excuses or promises or anything else. He believes there needs to be a come to Jesus meeting with the employees to convince them that one more goof and they are gone." 「連四敗之後,小金和幹部開會。會中宣布:再有任何閃失,刀下絕不留人。」

鴻門宴當前,屬下意見當然一面倒(toe the line),這是形勢比人強,明哲保身(keep your head down)才是硬道理。這或許是同樣聽演講,老闆意見特別靈光的道理:部下不敢(或不想)多言。

例:"When the boss asked for comments, everyone toed the line and told him what he wanted to hear."「老闆想聽大家的意見,只見眾人叫好聲不絕於耳。」

"The best we can do is to keep our heads down and hope that people will soon get used to the new boss."「 新老闆上任,大家認為明哲保身,才是相安無事的最佳策略。」

上有強勢老闆,老鳥員工知道,在外人面前,最好少開尊口。因為萬一不靈,變成放羊的孩子(crying wolf),會失去老闆青睞;萬一靈驗,醜事外揚,一時隨興的發言,反釀成悲慘下場(he is his own worst enemy),豈不更冤枉?

例:"Pay no attention. She's just crying wolf again. "「不必理她:她老是危言聳聽,這次一定也不例外。」

"Every time he speaks out he shows he is his own worst enemy"「他最喜歡放炮,亂講話的結果,卻讓自己受傷最深。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


漫無頭緒 (running around in circles)

花心思經營的店面,就像有特色的城市,假以時日,顧客就會被吸引上門,居民也引以為榮、觀光客蜂擁而至。前者像Starbucks咖啡,後者像巴黎、京都等世界名城。

這種因巧思產生魅力的認同感(atmosphere identity),是人氣維持不墜的秘訣。

像巴黎在鬧區堆出沙灘,一年吸引來400萬人次遊客,全世界幾十個城市競相仿效,前來取經的各國官員,絡繹不絕於途。

倫敦寓禁於徵的交通政策,首爾整治漢江的都市更新工程,也都是各國觀摩的對象。

例:“Starbucks's relaxed furniture, soothing music, and the smell of coffee provide an atmosphere identity that all their customers can recognize.“「星巴克的陳設、音樂和咖啡香,是吸引顧客持續上門的三大法寶。」

觀摩取經 別腦袋空空

如果觀摩前能夠做足功課,拜會時經由腦力激盪,進而產生共鳴,必然事半功倍,對雙方都有所助益,這就是「英雄所見略同」 (great minds think alike)。

因為行家彼此心裡有數,空個腦袋就去取經,純屬浪費別人時間,不但談不出名堂,對方也不會重視,最多放個簡報,已屬禮遇;要能找到關鍵人物懇談(clear line of communication),才能達到取經目的。

例:“The magistrate thought it would be a good idea to have a vacation and all her colleagues agreed that was exactly what they wanted. It just showed that great minds think alike.“「縣太爺想帶大家度個假,同僚都舉手贊成,真是英雄所見略同。」

“To keep the communication lines clear in the battlefield, the military commander must develop the network of continually talking with his soldiers to know any changes in the situation.”「戰場瞬息萬變,指揮官一定要能和士兵保持聯絡。」

需要扛責任的人,了解時間的重要性,也不容許自己或別人浪費時間。如果他不能在第一時間內對突發事件做出正確判斷,並且下達正確指示(the first to know is the first to response),事態就會溢出控制範圍(sticking your finger in the hole of the dam),變成一發不可收拾。

這種現象,適用在因應颱風這種天災,也適用於企業出現狀況時的危機處理。

盱衡情勢 考驗大智慧

例:“The PR department knows that the first to know is the first to respond so it must pay attention to act accordingly to any situation.”「公關部門知道任何突發狀況都必須馬上查證,並且在第一時間做出正確的因應措施。」

“If you only look at fixing the immediate dangers and not look ahead, eventually sticking your finger in the hole of the dam will only make the hole bigger.”「頭痛醫頭,不能根本解決問題,早晚會演變成禍害。」

地方建設落後,自知力有未逮(knowing only God creates miracles overnight),出國取經,這是天經地義的事,也是父母官的職責。

即使颱風來襲,只要授權機制正常,職務代理人扛起責任,便無可厚非。

在颱風來襲期間出國考察,同樣是縣市長,回國後有人全身而退,有人卻被列為貪汙被告,這是前者能低調道歉,迅速投入市政,後者卻演出一連串無頭蒼蠅式的 (running around in circles)拙劣反應 ,牛頭不對馬嘴(not run in one direction)的答辯,給人觀感不佳,司法單位進一步追究之後,所演變成的不同結果。

這也印證了孫子兵法:「不知彼不知己,每戰必敗」的道理。

知己知彼 行遠必自邇

例:“My boss wanted the presentation finished in one day. If he wants a well researched and organized presentation for the other CEOs, he needs to know that only God creates miracles overnight.”「老闆要我一天之內寫出擲地有聲的報告呈給總裁,他根本不知道慢工出細活的道理。」

“It seems that many workers here run in circles because they only do the immediate tasks, never plan for the future and follow a long term plan.”「員工被眼前的事忙得不可開交,哪裡還顧得長程規劃。」

“A good company can get all their employees to run in one direction instead of running in circles doing many little things.”「明定目標,齊步邁進,是優質公司的特色。」

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


韜光養晦 (keep your powder dry)

棒球是美國的國技(national pas-time),吸引全球好手競逐,日本的野茂英雄、松坂大輔、台灣的王建民、郭泓志、曹錦輝,只是其中的東方面孔。職棒大聯盟人才濟濟,按際遇扮演成王敗寇的角色。

這三位台灣叱吒風雲的選手,被挖角美國後,都從小聯盟1A打起,也都分別受傷沉潛。2007年,郭泓志下放3A,曹錦輝也暫時回到農場,獨留王一人在大聯盟孤軍奮戰,並獲時代雜誌評選為全球最具有影響力的百大人物之一。

大聯盟賽況激烈,狀況不佳或淪為傷兵者,都要回到農場調息(mend-ing his wounds),由一流的教練和醫療團隊協助,以期在最短期限內,將隊員送回球場。療傷止痛期(re-building period)一過,如果狀況還未見改善,這名球員極可能就被轉賣出去。

例:”The CEO needed to mend his wounds because he needed to find out why he lost and how to fix them before he can think about next move.”

「執行長痛定思痛,不找出失敗原因和解決方法,絕不任意走下一步棋。」

來日方長 不必硬幹到底

“In sports, teams go through re-building periods that last a few years by acquiring new talented players and developing them to work togeth-er.”

「球隊狀況差,用幾年時間去招募好手,培養團隊默契,這在體壇是常有的事。」

大聯盟是個高尚、合法的殺戮戰場,勝者趕盡殺絕(no quarter),絲毫不留情面,但敗者很少負隅頑抗(their backs are against the wall),原因是球季來日方長,不須為區區一場球賽而硬幹到底,製造無數傷兵。

例:”The enemy asks no quarter, and gives no quarter. They just want to accomplish the mission.”

「敵人下手極重,不留活口。這些人只想完成任務。」

“A team losing with only a cou-ple minutes left in a game has their backs against the wall and they must try some risky and dangerous ideas if they are to have a chance to win.”

「落後的一隊使出險招,想在終場結束前幾分鐘反敗為勝。」

狀況不佳的球員被下放到農場,並不是被冰凍起來,而是藉勢均力敵(same league )的戰友和敵手,在教練團的指導下培養重上戰場的力量。藉由養晦功夫(strength in seclusion),培養出顛撲不破的硬裏子功夫(right stuff )。每個在大聯盟站穩腳跟、縱橫球場的好手,臉色無不從容不迫(face like stone),就是憑藉幾度升降沉浮所熬出來的世面。

例:”The farm is a place for retreat where a baseball player can relax and regain strength in seclusion.” 「下放農場,球員可以好好休養,培養實力。」

承認失敗 沉潛後將再起

“The rookie player was the most valuable player in the league last year. Everyone saw that he has the right stuff to compete and at such a young age he will only get better as time goes on.” 「這名新秀獲得上年度最有價值球員,他的實力堅強,前程不可限量。」

“General Patton was known to have a face like stone during combat and very dangerous battles. His men saw this and it motivated them to have courage and fight with controlled emotions and focus.” 「巴頓將軍在戰場上指揮若定,麾下受到感召,人人奮戰不懈。」

最近曹錦輝改變球路,在危機四伏的中繼任務屢建奇功。而遭日本西武隊除名,悄然返國,一度要戴口罩才敢出門的張誌家,也終於公開露面,四處拜見前輩尋求手感。他們就像越王勾踐「臥薪嘗膽」(carry the weight of defeat)、韓信忍受「胯下之辱」(cause above pride),都是承認失敗,勇於面對現實的行為。

例:”Many sports players carry the weight of defeat with them all summer long before the start of the next sea-son.” 「許多球員接受失敗,臥薪嘗膽,在炎炎夏日賣命操練,希望新球季有好表現。」

“Gandhi faced such ridicule and criticism for his actions but he knew that cause above pride would soon have a much better result than the embarrassment.” 「甘地勇敢接受眾人的嘲弄,忍辱負重。」

孫子兵法作戰篇:「故不盡知用兵之害者,則不能盡用兵之利也」指的是禁得起起伏勝敗的嚴酷考驗,失利時深諳沉潛之道的人,才能夠領兵打勝仗。英文有許多類似說法,例如"Lay low until the time is right."、”main-tain a low profile”、”to bide your time”,或"keep your powder dry",換成中文,都叫作「韜光養晦」。

作者任教於陸軍官校【經濟日報】@ http://udn.com/


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